Trey Paul, FISM News
Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s crusade against “wokeness” in public schools continued Monday when he hinted at the idea of eliminating the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) classes from Florida schools after the state blocked a new Black studies course which included “queer theory.”
“This College Board, like, nobody elected them to anything. They’re just kind of there, and they’re providing service. So, you can either utilize those services or not. And they’ve provided these AP courses for a long time, but, you know, there are probably some other vendors who may be able to do that job as good or maybe even a lot better,” Gov. DeSantis said at a news conference in Naples.
The governor said he’s spoken with Florida state House Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) about having lawmakers “reevaluate” what courses are offered.
Those comments come after FISM News reported Gov. DeSantis blasted the content of the College Board’s classes in January, specifically a new AP course on African American studies. The course included “queer theory” and political movements that promoted “abolishing prisons” and was rejected by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE).
“That’s a political agenda,” Gov. DeSantis said at another news conference in Jacksonville. “That’s the wrong side of the line for Florida standards. We believe in teaching kids facts and how to think, but we don’t believe they should have an agenda imposed on them when you try to use Black history to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes.”
The College Board addressed Gov. DeSantis and the FDOE in a statement posted on the organization’s website Saturday. Part of the statement reads: “We deeply regret not immediately denouncing the Florida Department of Education’s slander, magnified by the DeSantis administration’s subsequent comments, that African American Studies ‘lacks educational value.’ Our failure to raise our voice betrayed black scholars everywhere and those who have long toiled to build this remarkable field.”
The College Board also claimed some courses were optional and admitted it didn’t make things clear.
“We should have made clear that contemporary events like the Black Lives Matter movement, reparations, and mass incarceration were optional topics in the pilot course. Our lack of clarity allowed the narrative to arise that political forces had ‘downgraded’ the role of these contemporary movements and debates in the AP class. The actual pilot course materials teachers used were completed on April 29, 2022 — far prior to any pushback. In these pilot materials, teachers were told to pick only one such topic. This topic could be assigned after the exam since it didn’t count and would have no impact on the student’s AP score. The official framework is a significant improvement, rather than a watering down: three weeks are now dedicated to a research project of the student’s choice, which counts as 20% of the student’s AP Exam score for college credit.”
Gov. DeSantis pushed back against the College Board on Monday.
“The College Board was the one that in a black studies course, put queer theory in. Not us,” he said. “They were the ones that put in intersectionality, other types of neo-Marxism into the proposed syllabus, and this was the proposed course. So our Department of Education looked at that and said, ‘In Florida, we do education, not indoctrination,’ and so that runs afoul of our standards.”
Last year, DeSantis signed the “Stop WOKE Act” into law which “restricts certain race-based conversations and analysis in schools and businesses” and would ban state funding from schools that teach Critical Race Theory (CRT).